Category Archives: tenkara

Tenkara spey

I was reading the excellent book “Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod and Reel (2nd edition)” by Yvon Chouinard, Greg Matthews and Mauro Mazzo, and Chouinard, disregarding the dictates of the Tenkara, proposes to use a cast he names a “snap C cast” which he describes later as a spey cast and which is neither more nor less than a C Cast.

In fact, since he is writing the book with Maura Mazzo who is Italian and advocates the ancestral technique of his country, his technique is far from the pure tenkara that we can see expressed in some cases. I remember a call for content for a bookon tenkara and when I proposed an article on sea trout on tenkara, I was told that it did not enter the arcana of this art. Chouinard alludes to this when he talks about the philosophy involved, but I have yet to find a book in Japanese that I can read in the text.

This book is more of an ode to simplicity than to tenkara per se, and it is very much in line with my ideal. As much as I like long, but perfect casts, I believe that the fish are not always on the other side of the river. I also think that flies are more made to catch

But what I remember most from this book and his interpretation of the tenkara is his whole theory on the “taut leader”. Chouinard considers, in fact, that the most important thing is to be able to animate the fly and that it is therefore necessary that the leader is tense to be able to make the most natural ‘twitch’. He proposes several tracks thus the knotted leaders with, in his case, 6 sections:

  • 15 in. – .017 (20 lb. test) Maxima Ultragreen nylon
  • 15 in. – .015 (15 lb. test) Maxima Ultragreen nylon
  • 15 in. – .013 (12 lb. test) Maxima Ultragreen nylon
  • 15 in. – .011 (0X tippet material)
  • 15 in. – .09 (2X tippet material)
  • 30 in. – .008 (3X tippet material)

or the two-fly train with the lead fly large enough to stretch the entire line.

I had given up on knotted leaders considering they were too noisy and fly trains considering they were too difficult to manage, but I just discovered, in this book, the Belgian cast and am looking forward to testing this technique with a tenkara rod.

So the tenkara with spey throws and homegrown ‘soft hackle’, do we lose or win? I think we should not forget that initially it was all a simple matter of survival and who says “survival”, says using what we have at hand: a bamboo for the rod and a horse hair for the line. So the purity of the tenkara, which is now only conceivable with a telescopic rod made of ultra-light carbon and a line made of braided nylon or not, is contemporary to the surge decried by Chouinard of $1,000 rods, solid silver reels, different silks for each bend in the river.

Once again the doxa is only the object of vain cleavages.

“Tight line” as some like to say.